Georgia’s strong economic growth forecast makes it a great state for young business professionals. The University of Georgia forecasts that the state’s GDP will increase by a healthy 4 percent in 2021 while the U.S. GDP should increase by about 6.5 percent, primarily due to the Covid-19 pandemic recovery. The report also notes an income growth in Georgia of only 0.2 percent, down markedly from the 5 percent in 2019. This is better than the national forecast average forecast of personal income shrinking 1 percent in 2021.
The University of Georgia details the most influential sectors in the Peach State. The economy’s fastest-recovering sectors are projected to be hospitality and entertainment. The report expects logistics, distribution, business services, financial technology, education, and health services to recover quickly as well.
According to the Georgia Department of Economic Development, “Georgia has a vibrant international community comprised of companies from around the world, representation from approximately 70 foreign governments, and a diverse population served by international schools, markets, restaurants, festivals, and cultural events.” Georgia also boasts the busiest airport in the world and the fastest-growing seaport, making this state an excellent place to launch a business career with an international emphasis.
There are 34 Fortune 1000 companies headquartered in Georgia, an increase of four since 2019. They include household names such as Porsche, Adidas, and Kia Motors. Overall, Georgia is ranked ninth in the country for the most Fortune 1000 companies.
An MBA can prove a smart investment in any climate but can be exceptionally beneficial in a growing economy like Georgia’s. Our BSchools guide, “What Can I Do with an MBA Degree?” details how MBA graduates can more than double their compensation. As discussed in that guide, the University of Georgia’s Terry College reports the fourth-highest salary uplift metric in the United States, at 156 percent.
Students interested in earning an online MBA degree in Georgia have several options. The state’s top AACSB International-accredited schools have come together to provide an online MBA degree without the restrictions of set class times and locations. In this guide, we focus on seven schools that participate in the Georgia WebMBA consortium and two schools not affiliated with the WebMBA effort.
Read on for profiles of these universities in Georgia that offer online MBA programs and three of their best professors.
Georgia WebMBA Program
The Georgia WebMBA Program amounts to an online MBA program with a standardized curriculum offered through seven of the state’s public universities in the University System of Georgia:
- Kennesaw State University – Michael J. Coles College of Business
- Columbus State University – D. Abbott Turner College of Business
- Georgia College & State University – J. Whitney Bunting College of Business
- Valdosta State University – College of Business Administration
- Georgia Southern University – Parker College of Business
- University of West Georgia
- Augusta University James M. Hull College of Business
When students enroll at any one of the seven participating schools, they access the same MBA curriculum (more details on this below). This guide attempts to clarify how the program apportions features applicants consider significant between WebMBA and each of the member universities.
In this profile, we lead with the commonalities between all participating universities; then we examine aspects of this program that are unique to each school.
Georgia WebMBA Commonalities
WebMBA is an accelerated program, meaning that students can complete the sparse ten-course curriculum in five consecutive semesters over 18 months. However, all students must first complete four undergraduate prerequisites: two courses in financial accounting, one quantitative methods course focusing on economic statistics, and one course in financial management. Students without undergraduate credits in these subjects will need to earn them before beginning MBA core coursework.
The Georgia WebMBA curriculum is progressive but rigid and core-exclusive. Like the MBA programs at Harvard and Stanford, the WebMBA core curriculum omits managerial economics. WebMBA also requires some contemporary topics, such as entrepreneurship, information systems, and supply chain operations management. The only non-progressive exception seems to be an organizational behavior course with a somewhat dated syllabus that fails to emphasize leadership. There are no concentrations or electives available—the core courses exclusively make up the entire curriculum.
These courses are all asynchronous and delivered entirely online; however, students must also attend an introductory, two-day immersion at the beginning of the program. Even though none of the classes are offered in a live or synchronous format, the program is nevertheless lockstep and cohort-driven.
Like the curriculum, the program’s cost appears to be the same irrespective of the university in which students enroll. However, with the emphasis on affordable tuition by the consortium and individual schools, WebMBA’s tuition ranks not far below the average found among many online MBA programs. For more research and analysis, see our report, “How Much Do Online MBA Programs Cost?”
Accreditation also appears to be the same across all schools. The Georgia WebMBA program carries Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) accreditation at all the seven schools.
And finally, all participating schools require applicants to have at least two years of work experience, an undergraduate degree, and GMAT scores.
Georgia WebMBA: Differences Among Universities
The most significant differences appear in enrollments, rankings, GMAT waiver policies, and admissions standards—and each participating school sets the latter two criteria individually.
Enrollment differs substantially according to each school. Kennesaw State told the U.S. News & World Report that its 2021 registration held 175 students, while Georgia Southern claimed 117, and Georgia College & State University claimed 40. Outside of those four, the other schools have very small enrollments, with only 24 students at Columbus State, 32 at Augusta University, and 15 at Valdosta State.
More noticeable differences appear in the schools’ rankings. The consortium’s website claims that “seven top-ranked business schools in Georgia” offer the WebMBA. However, that statement is misleading. Most of the programs rank fairly close to each other, and none of the rankings are particularly high. The U.S. News & World Report ranks among Georgia College & State at #62 and Georgia Southern at #67 among the best online MBA programs. Kennesaw comes in at #94, Valdosta at #123, and Columbus State at #126. Agusta is unranked. We find these different rankings curious, given that the curriculum is identical among all these schools.
Those ranking differences might appear because variances in the admission requirements result in student bodies with very diverse qualifications. For example, Kennesaw uses a candidate’s overall GPA or their GPA during their last 60 hours (whichever is higher) when making both admission and GMAT waiver decisions. At Valdosta State, students first must be accepted by the university’s graduate school. Then, to be considered for the MBA program, candidates only need a minimum 400 GMAT score and 2.5 GPA.
- Locations: Kennesaw State University (Kennesaw, GA), Columbus State University (Columbus, GA), Georgia College & State University (Milledgeville, GA), Valdosta State University (Valdosta, GA), Georgia Southern University (Savannah, GA)
- Accreditation: AACSB International
- Format: Online with required introductory two-day immersion in Atlanta
- Tuition: $22,170 for the entire program
- Program length: 18 months
Other Featured Business Schools in Georgia with Online MBA Programs
Mercer University offers a 36-credit online MBA program that enrolls only 64 students and targets working professionals looking to upgrade their skills. Students can complete a 12-hour specialization in marketing, healthcare management, finance, general business, human resources, or economics. The school requires a traditional set of core topics with a particular emphasis on economics—in both foundation and business core courses—and ethics. Stetson also includes topics that no longer appear in the business core at many schools, like managerial economics and business law.
Similar to the WebMBA foundation courses, Mercer requires three waiver-eligible foundation courses before entry; those include accounting and finance, economic statistics, and principles of economics. Students can also opt for several dual degrees.
|Location: Macon, GA|
|Accreditation: AACSB International|
|Tuition: $795 per credit|
|Program length: 18 months|
GSW requires four foundation courses before students begin the program; these are in accounting, finance, economic statistics, and principles of management. Beyond that, it is challenging to find any information on the school’s website about the curriculum. Furthermore, the school does not appear in U.S. News & World Report, so we relied on The Economist to fill in knowledge gaps.
Core courses include managerial economics and international business; a secondary menu requiring students to select two electives includes labor-management relations, nonprofit marketing, and the history and philosophy of management—all classes unusual in MBA programs.
|Location: Americus, GA|
|Accreditation: AACSB International|
|Tuition: $767 per credit|
|Program length: 24 months|
Hybrid MBA Programs in Georgia
Hybrid programs blend online and on-campus instruction, networking, and career support. They allow students the flexibility of an online curriculum with the connection and support of an on-campus one. Hybrid programs differ from online programs in that they have in-person and on-campus activities baked into the entire program. Hybrid students should expect two to three requirements per semester (compared to one or two per program for online students). These in-person activities often take the form of on-site intensives over a weekend either on campus or at a school’s satellite facility.
Candidates whose location or employment commitments prevent them from attending a full-time residential program but who still want in-person instruction, networking, and career support may benefit from hybrid programs like those offered by the following universities:
- Emory University – Goizueta Business School (Executive MBA)
- University of Georgia – Terry College of Business (Executive MBA)
- Berry College – Campbell School of Business
- Clark Atlanta University – School of Business